Juniper schnapps - based on fresh, black juniper cones - has a beautiful bright yellow colour and a sweet, spicy and very enjoyable taste.
Serve with smoked ham, venison meat, pork and poultry. Or add a little schnapps to barbecue sauces and stews.
Excellent as drink before and after dinner - or added to tonic water.
The common juniper plant is a small evergreen shrub or tree with needle-like leaves and yellow flowers.
The fruit is a berry-like cone about the size of a pea. The cones mature on the plant after two years.
First year they are green or grey-green, second year blue or black and covered with a bluish bloom.
Both unripe and ripe cones can be seen on the same plant.
Among other uses, the cones are used to flavour the Dutch Genever.
The cones - as well as the leaves - are also used in various dietary supplements and herbal remedies.
Here in Denmark, common juniper grows wild in gravel or sandy soil in open woods, wood edges, heaths, sandy hillsides, and coast shrubs.
It's found throughout the country, especially in middle and west Jutland (Jylland), on the small island of Bornholm, and at the chalk cliffs of Møn (Møns Klint).
For best result, use only fresh, black and fully ripe juniper cones.
The green ones taste awful (like turpentine) and the blue ones don't taste good either.
But the black ones have a bitter-sweet taste and they are great for making a very delicious schnapps.
It's difficult to pick the cones because of the needle-like leaves. Instead, shake the branches over a groundsheet.
You can use dried juniper cones - just crush them a little before steeping.
After some time you will notice essential oil globules on the surface of your schnapps. That´s quite normal and the way it should be - just shake the bottle before use.
Note: If for some reason you are not satisfied with your infusion, there are ways to adjust both taste and flavours - click here to see how.
Serve your juniper schnapps at room temperature in suitable glasses. And remember to keep your schnapps bottle tightly closed and in a dark place before and between servings.